Alison Wonderland is no stranger to getting personal with her art. For many musicians, writing music is like writing in a diary. Loner, Alison’s highly anticipated third album, shares thoughts of grappling with the solitude during the pandemic. Since 2020, people spent more time than ever alone with their thoughts. For most, especially those with a history of mental health struggles, the time was not easy. Through Loner, Alison has put painful feelings into words and creates a beautifully dynamic album.
“Forever” starts the the album soft yet strong. The track is a great choice for an opener as it’s key line, “It will feel like forever, until it doesn’t,” is a theme echoed throughout the album. Despite hardships we have been through, there is reason to keep going and the hurt is temporary. It’s emotional and the instrumentals are delicate to match the sincerity.
Next, the track “Safe Life” grapples with the choice to continue living a fast life or to become more risk-adverse. Through this, and the later track, “Fear Of Dying,” Alison acknowledges panic that comes when worrying about the future. The album reconciles with these thoughts noting that these fears exist, but we can still live our lives fully.
Subsequently, “New Day” is another anthem of hope much like “Forever” is. Being excited about waking up to a new day is wonderful optimism. Alison does a fantastic job of accepting the past, even when it isn’t easy. And through songs like “New Day” she lets listeners know that they can all move forward together. Then, with “Something Real,” the Australian DJ shows that even after fighting with loneliness and internal demons, finding love and happiness is possible.
Another interesting topic explored on Loner is the downsides of fame. Yes, Alison has gained a lot of momentum in the past few years, but that doesn’t mean she’s not human. Through tracks “Fuck U Love U” and “Thirst” Alison shares how she is more than her fame. The pandemic caused many artist to confront their reality since they cannot hide their feelings through performing. Others may idolize what Alison has, but that doesn’t change the fact that before headlining festivals, she was a person. And, she still is.
Of course, tracks like “Bad Things” exemplify how feelings of hurt and heartbreak can be heightened when alone with your thoughts. However, through pondering past relationships, you also gain a sense of closure. That’s where the sleeper hit of the album, “Cocaine,” comes in. This is the we hate fuckboys anthem. Drugs and partying has men thinking they’re cool and attractive, but women see through that facade. And if the man who wronged Alison didn’t get the hint, the interlude title, “I’m Doing Great Now Thanks” should settle things.
Although many tracks are thematically heavy, Alison Wonderland works her magic by providing euphoric base drops. Sonically, the album has every element her fans love. With a mix of EDM you can dance to sprinkled in with electropop influences, Loner shows that through emotional growth there’s also musical growth. DJ friends like Said The Sky, Quix, and Valentino Khan also assisted with some writing and producing, making the album that much more special. In addition to the strong writing, “Eyes Closed” and the interlude show that Alison still kills it with instrumental tracks.
Finally, the album closes with the title track, “Loner,” wrapping up the album nicely. Similar to how it started, the album closes with a softer number. The dance tracks are sandwiched between two introspective, meaningful songs. The album feels truly complete with song themes, instrumental interludes, and a strong start and end.
Overall, Loner, is an album you need to hear to experience as words won’t do it justice. It’s evident that Alison put her whole heart and soul into every track. Waiting four years for a new album was worth it. True art takes time, especially when a lot of emotions are involved. Alison created a listening experience that is both uniquely individual and for everyone at once. The production and instrumentals are incredible, but the empowering words make it that much better. Fans will be sure to treasure these songs for years to come. And hopefully, we will be dancing, crying, and laughing together at a Church of Wonderland event soon.